A weaker film than Olivier's Henry V and Hamlet, but at least we have the evil Richard that the current Ricardian propagandists want made a saint.
"Foul devil, for God's sake, hence, and trouble us not;
For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
Fill'd it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.
Either heaven with lightning strike the
Or earth, gape open wide and eat him quick."
What a fabbo film of fabbo Will's fabbo play. Lots of words cut out, but the play was always a bit too wordy anyway. In Glorious VistaVision! Olivier knocks the socks off every other actor in the English-speaking word and the USA as well. The only negative is the battle scene at the end: all right, the Battle of Bosworth was fought in August, but since when did High Summer in England look like a Spanish... (cont.)
Works best when Olivier is conniving straight down the pipe, but falls apart a bit in the climactic battle when the audience's intimacy w/Richard is betrayed for sword & horse (a kingdom for!) spectacle. Still, Olivier is the best--not that the supporting cast is anything to sneeze at. Olivier's direction is intuitive & graceful; set & costume design all technicolor exaggeration & stylized surrealism.
I can't give more than three stars because to me the Great Man is not a very good film actor. His performances are overly broad for the big screen and his "technique" always shines through. These facts are never more in evidence than in this film. I am, admittedly, in the minority in this assessment but there you have it.
This original "Game of Thrones" adapted Shakespeare's play to the screen for the first time with director Laurence Olivier relishing the title role. Richard's conniving concoctions are a pleasure to see play out as characters are dispatched in diverse yet artful manners. John McCorry worked overtime in ornamenting the cast, arranged like flowers in this Technicolor framing.
Shakespeare's top villain found in Laurence Olivier's performance another powerfull adversary to his reputation, which is just an add on reason to spend two and a half gripping hours with England's greatest writer, actor and presumed villain.